With winter here, it's important to use the powers of the season to get our immune system into peak efficiency. Our goal is to get the body manufacturing plenty of white blood cells (lymphocytes) to fight bacteria, viruses and germs that will appear when the winter planet gets chilly and toxic and everyone else is sneezing in your face.

The body can only create these tiny, white 'soldier' lymphocytes when it is in balance, i.e. slightly alkaline and well oxygenated. How do we accomplish this magical military draft which will be in our favor? Good life habits is one way but another is through diet.

Start in Autumn, and be sure to use an alkaline diet full of alkaline reaction fruits and vegetables (all of them, except potatoes, really) and steer away from those acid reaction meats, eggs, heavy starches, sweets.And for entrees, get in the habit of alkaline QUINOA or MILLET. Great grains! Lots of GHEE on them to make them filling. Ask me for file on ghee.

Sometimes, even the best laid plans go awry. The day after a big binge dinner, you may feel a dip in your vital powers, maybe the start of a sniffles, or a slightly swollen throat gland, or, if there are problem nerves in your teeth, nerves lying too close to the inlay, they will hurt so badly you'll think you have an infected tooth when it is really only a swollen nerve, If any of the above starts to happen, immediately do a cold weather Immune System Tune-up.

On that day, twice or three times use foods rich in Vitamin C and Bioflavenoids. This would be summer fruits, particularly citrus, guava, berries of all kinds, cherries and red bell peppers. A citrus snack in the morning, fruit after lunch, a salad with red bellpeppers at night, berries as a bedtime snack. We didn't say this diet wasn't going to be FUN! IT WILL BE. DELICIOUS!

But the Ancient Witch has a secret. The most Vitamin C you can get without a special permit is from that treasured, reliable member of the English garden ---magical Rose Hips.

What a wonder these are and how simple to find! You can go into any garden in Fall and Winter and pick dozens of those red balls that grow on all the rose bushes. Nibble a few and watch a sore throat disappear in hours! Or, walk the neighborhood. Pebbles needs walking, put him on a leash and pick rose hips from all the neighbor's bushes. You'll do their plants a favor, they are more likely to have some more blooms appear on those leaves before the first chill. Also, the more time bushes spend without cherries ripening, the more time and energy they can dedicate to getting ready for next year's growth.

When searching for this magical rose fruit, remember, the redder, plumper the better. When they start to wither like raisins, their power is really not too diminished but when they dry brown like stones, it IS. Store these fresh, highly perishable fruits in the fridge (I store mine in the egg rack). Wash and eat a few daily. They will not last more than a month that way, as fridge dehydrates them. For longer times, put them in a jar in the fridge, very tight lid, and use a dessicant, found in a vitamin jar.

If you can get a pound or two of rosehips, make JAM. Cut all the meat from the seed pod with a sharp knife, boil with sugar and the outer skins of oranges, lemons, the way you make marmalade. Keep these jars in the freezer.

Have rose hip/citrus jam on toast all winter and you'll never get a cold as your immune system will never DIP. You may think ascorbic acid or common Vitamin C will do the job, but it is tough on stomach linings which will eventually affect your digestion!

It's easy to know when our immune system dips. We get lip herpes, cold sores, cankers. Any teeth that have a slightly bad nerve will get much more painful as bacteria is able to multiply there. Lymph glands get swollen, body feels chilled more than usual and hands and feet are cold.

ROSE HIPS will pull your Immune system out of a dip. Hips are tasty, crunchy, sweet, slightly sour and bitter and the highest Vit C source on the planet. To eat raw, take a bite of the flesh, avoiding the central seed packet, chew it like gum, salivating it, swallowing the juices, then spitting out the chaff and skin. Go through four or five in a sitting. I eat them while typing or gardening.

Plant the seeds that lie in the center of the pod in your garden and you'll get beautiful rose bushes in completely new varieties, not true to the parent plant!

Other cold weather toners: get the herbs Echinacea, Goldenseal at your healthfood store. Make a dark tea by opening 4 - 6 capsules into a pot of water at 'tea-making temperature' (between a 'bath and a boil', about 155 degrees.) Cover, let steep or brew. Never boil tea herbs! And the super 'carminative' which means it makes your cheeks pink, your fingers warm, CAYENNE powder in capsules. This will not burn your tummy. Ginger and mustard will raise welts but not cayenne.

WARMING TEA: If you can find wild indigo, Boneset, prickley ash bark, Thuja leaf. St John's, Lomatium, Hyssop, Lemon Balm at healthfood store herb rack, either in bulk or in capsule, add these to the tea mix, a few slices of ginger, some black pepper corms, and cinnamon sticks.

Last of all, for immune system tone up there are the glandulars, actual animal gland extracts. "Thymus." Pregnolone and Progesterone. Specialty pharmacies offer them through mail order.

HINDU TRICKS TO DEAL WITH COLDS: Oregano seed tea at first symptom, which nobody has unless they grow oregano every year, so start doing this. The Indian aurevedic doctors have also used Ginger root tea for its carminative effect. (i.e. it makes you warm and glowing.) If you have an ulcer tendency, don't use mustard, black pepper or ginger in any form, however. Cayenne in capsules would then be your carminative of choice.

Then, there's YOGI TEA which uses ginger and buffers it with milk. Try this terrific recipe from YOGI BHAJAN of New Delhi and Los Angeles, Santa Fe and about 200 other cities worldwide. (Ask me for class room address nearest YOU).

RECIPE for YOGI TEA: Boil 1/2 gallon water with 6 cinnamon sticks, crushed, l5 cardomon pods, whacked with hammer until broken up, a dozen whole cloves, a thumb of ginger, peeled, sliced; a dozen black pepper corms. Simmer spices 10 minutes, low heat, then add 1 tsp blk tea, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup honey, simmer 1 minute then strain and serve. When cool, store extra in huge glass jar in fridge, heat as required. Courtney Love's favorite beverage!

Other heavy duty SNIFFLES/ COLDS HERB TEAS can be made of echinacea, goldenseal, osha, spilanthes, yerba santa, horseradish, elder, watercress, wild indigo. Take this mixture while sitting in bed, watching television because it will knock you off your feet! For red, swollen eyes, make an actual eye wash of 'eyebright' herb or add some of it to your tea mixture, too.

FOR PROBLEM TEETH- Infections in jaw can poison you, cause heart valve damage, so take large amts of Vit C and cure it from the inside. Lay cloves against the gumline. Use a piece of orange peel to hold it there. Set a heating pad against the cheek, AND, get BEE PROPOLIS at healthfood store, use as directed. And, do all the above things to get immune system up and running as usually you can back off jaw/ tooth infections.


1.) Don't close yourself in heated homes. Leave entry points for fresh air or, several times a day, air out the entire home, then shutter it again, re-heat the air. Be very watchful of carbon dioxide build-up from home furnaces. Have a carbon dioxide monitor, like a smoke detector, available at any hardware store. Nothing will run your immune sys into the basement like toxic gases!

2.) THE BEST OXYGENATOR IS SLEEP. It is the fastest way to erase those dark circles which mean oxygen lack. (Heart insufficiency or heart murmur or just clogged vein patients are easy to read by holistic doctors, because they have unusual dark circles under their eyes.) Use soporific herbal teas to increase your sleep an hour or two. Valerian, skullcap, vervaine, hops, passionflower brewed into tea, sipped an hour before normal bedtime will put you down earlier. Calcium, Magnesium and niacin in small amounts with the tea aid it in working. Healthfood stores are full of wonderful herbs to relax and induce sleep and these can be opened and brewed into tisane for quick assimilation.

3.) VITAMINS: Vit E is a good system oxygenator but it must be taken with food that has oils in it to be absorbed. Get some CoEnzyme Q-10, Vit 15, and Green Magma, spirulina, algae pills but only if you take methyl b-12 as spirulina blocks b-12 absorption.

4.) FOODS: Many foods actually have high oxygen in them. Drink freshly made Green juices, a good mixture being collards, parsley/cress in a celery base, with carrot or apple to sweeten. High oxygen food in meals would be juicy salads made of watercress, spinach, raw, dark green growing things. High oxygen proteins would be bean sprouts and avocado in a romaine/ spinach salad with sunflower seeds, pignolas on top and a raw dressing, i.e. lemon juice, olive oil, fresh raw garlic, a good virus killer! And toasted sesame seeds instead of salt and maybe a spritz of soy sauce. Although, I do love my buttermilk ranch dressing, home made with real buttermilk. But the important thing is a huge huge meal of salad. I use some sprouted grain bread with it, or hot corn tortillas, toasted a little on the open flame of stove. As I'm eating starch I don't put any meat in the same meal. Meat is eaten ONLY with greens.

No more will you be at the whim of fate. Learning to activate the immune system at an instant's notice will put the 'handles' for achieving a healthy body and teeth back in your hands.

By Anita Sands Hernandez